Last week brought good news not only to the province of Catanduanes but also to residents of Panay island, shared by Bagamanoc and Panganiban.
It appears that the long-delayed construction of the Philippine Coast Guard base at the former US LORAN station in Quigaray, Bagamanoc will resume soon.
With the support of Gov. Joseph Cua, who recently visited the office of the PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu, officials of the Provincial Assessor’s Office were accompanied by PCG personnel in conducting an area survey of the four-hectare LORAN lot.
The team staked out the lot and installed temporary markers at the corners, which will be replaced by concrete monuments.
The survey was done based on the Special Patent issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in October 2019, just months after the initial P200 million contract was awarded by the Department of Transportation to the winning bidder.
The contractor was unable to start on the project after the alleged heirs of the landowner asked the municipal government to stop work.
As of this time, it is not yet certain when the contractor, who was present during the survey, would begin work.
But residents of the area, particularly those who own lands adjoining the LORAN property, would be the first to benefit from the arrival of construction workers and PCG personnel who would be providing security at the site.
It is also highly possible that the Philippine Navy would insist on having its own base on the island, with the provincial administration reportedly eager to assist by procuring the needed lots.
One site being considered is the area near and around the Lolong Point light house, where the immediate site of about 14,000 square meters is owned by the government.
Just nearby is the small airstrip, now covered by vegetation, that was built by then Japanese investor Miharu Matsuzawa when he tried to establish a golf course for tourists in the island.
Landowners would be well-advised, therefore, to hold on to their properties especially if it would not be expropriated by the government for the proposed separate Forward Operating Base of the Navy.
Enterprising businessmen who had the foresight of acquiring lots near and around the LORAN area and the lighthouse are certain to earn much from possible ventures once the bases begin operating.
In the Unites States and other countries, the establishment and operation of such bases are welcomed by local residents, as they provide jobs and livelihood opportunities.
Chief executives as well as members of Congress fiercely defend their privilege of hosting bases and the latter often ensure that there is adequate funding for their operations.
The closure of bases is usually preceded by economic decline as businesses which supplied the base personnel with their daily needs, including recreation, close along with it.
Not only should Catandunganons welcome this opportunity to further improve their quality of life but the added security of having the Coast Guard and the Navy close at hand especially in the wake of disasters.